Senior trade officials are increasingly pessimistic that a deal to conclude the stalled Doha Development Round of trade negotiations can be reached this year.
In a meeting with representatives of Education International in January, one EC official conceded the talks “are going nowhere.”
“Publicly, we’ll say that we’re committed to concluding a deal this year or next year, but in fact our priority is shifting to bilateral talks now,” the official admitted.
EC representatives said the main problem is the lack of engagement from the U.S., noting that the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will not even be present during the so-called “stock-taking” exercise in March.
At last December’s WTO Ministerial Conference, Director General Pascal Lamy heralded the agreement to hold a stock-taking meeting as an indication that negotiations would be intensifying in 2010.